Daylight saving time 2022: what is the reason for this change every year?
One thing is knowing the reason for this twice-annual ritual, another is getting your head around the fact that not every state actually observes it.
It's that time of year again. Yes, you'll be getting one less hour in bed and you're then going to have short-term time-zone calculation adjustments to make. So, why do we have to do this anyway? Does the use of Daylight Saving Time really make a beneficial difference to our lives? Does everyone do it at the same time on the same day? When did it begin? Is it a tradition that could be scrapped in the coming years?
So many questions and an hour less to read. If only there was a place with all the answers. Read on...
In other news:
Daylight Saving: when did it all begin?
The debate rages on about whether the practice of switching clocks twice a year should continue or be ditched. The system was first adopted in the US in 1918 but dropped the following year, only to be taken up again. In 1966 the act of changing the hour to take advantage of longer days in the summer months was made uniform across the US.
However, not all the states went along with adopting Daylight Saving Time, a few holdouts kept Standard Time. It wasn't until 2006 that Indiana became the 48th state to conform with the practice, previously a large part of the state didn't bother with the time change. Now a number of states would like to do away with the twice annual time change and just stick with Daylight Savings Time.
How does Daylight Saving Time work?
Twice a year the majority of Americans change their clocks for Daylight Saving Time. The change happens on the second Sunday of March and the first Sunday of November each year. The shift is always done on the weekend at 2:00 am to limit the amount of disruption caused.
There is a saying to help remember which way to change your clock, “Spring forward, Fall back,” so in the springtime you turn your clock forward one hour and in the autumn you turn your clock back an hour. The time shift allows people to take advantage of extra daylight during summer allowing them to save energy, as well as reducing crime and traffic accidents.
Which states observe Daylight Saving?
The only parts of the US that do not have Daylight Saving Time are Hawaii, most of Arizona, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, and American Samoa.
Arizona experimented with the change beginning in 1918, but decided to permanently opt out of the Daylight Saving Time in 1968. Although the state observes Standard Time, the Navajo Nation, a Native American territory in the north-east of the state, which also crosses over into New Mexico and Utah, does make the twice a year time shift.
Hawaii is the only other state that currently doesn’t observe Daylight Saving Time. Along with the other US territories in the Pacific and the Caribbean Sea, they are close enough to the equator that there is no significant difference in sunrise and sunset times across the year so there are no benefits from changing the hour.
Ending Daylight Saving Time: states in change
For some the twice annual time change is a bother, which has led to calls to end the practice of Daylight Saving Time. 29 states have introduced legislation to do away with the twice-yearly switch, 19 have passed legislation in the past four years to take up Daylight Saving Time year round.
However, the ultimate authority to do so has been under the Department of Transportation since 1966 and they would need Congressional approval. But, if those states chose to keep Standard Time all year, they wouldn't need to ask the federal government for its OK.
One other problem, depending on which poll you look at, Americans can't agree on whether to ditch the system or which system to go with if it were nixed. A poll back in 2019 found that 71 percent of Americans don’t like switching their clocks back and forth twice a year. The catch is that according to the 2019 AP-NORC poll more Americans, 40 percent, would prefer to have Standard Time year round. Add to that, another pool taken by CBS just four years prior found that Americans were split about down the middle about whether they wanted the twice annual time change or not.
Why do we change the clocks for Daylight Saving Time?
The first person credited with suggesting the idea of changing our clocks to take advantage of the longer summer days was Benjamin Franklin while he was living in Paris. But the man credited with getting the ball rolling was a British builder named William Willett who suggested the idea to Parliament as a way for the nation as a whole to make better use of daylight.
However, Germany was the first to implement the practice of seasonal time changes, desperate to save energy during the First World War. The policy quickly caught on with most European nations, the US and the United Kingdom along with its allies adopting the Daylight Saving Time by 1918. However, many nations got rid of the system in the years after the war only to adopt it again when there was a need to conserve energy.
Does Daylight Saving Time really conserve energy?
The Daylight Saving Time is credited with reducing crime, people are doing activities in the daylight so there are less opportunities for criminals, as well as saving lives and preventing traffic accidents. However, the primary reason for the twice-yearly shift comes from the energy savings it is purported to have. According to the US Department of Transportation study in 1975, the US experienced nearly a one percent daily savings on energy use during the yearly Daylight Savings Time period.
However, those findings have been contradicted by more recent analysis performed in 2006 when Indiana implemented Daylight Saving Time statewide. Researchers found that residential energy consumption actually increased by around one percent. They ventured that although less lighting is needed, the longer summer evenings caused a spike in AC usage in households throughout the state.